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Restoring natural integrity

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Aseptic surgery was introduced in the late 19th century, and it was the refinement of this principle that created a realistic possibility of implanting foreign materials into the body with an acceptably low risk of rejection due to infections.

At first there was no suitable material to withstand the challenges posed by the living body, particularly with regard to strength and corrosion resistance. The need was pressing, however, as the first half of the 20th century was determined by wars, with millions of people dead and injured.

Developments in metal refining and processing eventually led to the production of improved materials that were readily adopted by surgeons for use in fracture fixation. The materials that have performed well in clinical situations are used in trauma and orthopedic implants to this day.

In the last few decades, the introduction of biomaterials has complemented these empirical results and influenced subsequent technological advances. Naturally, the ultimate aim of biomaterials as applied in trauma implants is to restore the structural integrity of the damaged bone. The attainment of this aim depends on the complex interplay of the material properties, the design of the device and physiological conditions.

Apart from medical aspects, the material selection process must also take practical manufacturing and marketing needs into account: reasonable cost, efficient production and ease of surgical application. The range of innovative biomaterials and implants offered by aap Implantate meets all these needs.

The German enterprise offers orthopedic implants and medical products that satisfy clients’ varying cost/performance demands. Combining proven standards with innovative developments, the company follows its mission to provide high-quality products and services that meet customers’ expectations and benefit the patients they serve.

aap Implantate has focused on orthopedics with core competencies centered on innovative biomaterials and trauma since 2009. In the future the focus will be on trauma exclusively. The company’s foundation dates back to 1990.

“Trauma treatment stood at the beginning of it all when we started out as an MBO of Johnson & Johnson,” adds CEO Bruke Seyoum Alemu, who has been a member of the board since 1999. “Over the years, we have taken over other businesses, thus enabling us to expand our product range to biomaterials and bone cements.”

In 2008 aap Implantate acquired Osartis and a group of spin-offs from Biomet-Merck, the companies that form aap biomaterials GmbH as a center of excellence for bone cements and cementing techniques in Dieburg today. A Dutch business that was integrated into the aap Group in 2007 was resold this February in the course of restructurization.

“Our decision to concentrate on trauma and innovative biomaterials has placed us in a favourable position with excellent prospects,” emphasizes Mr. Seyoum Alemu. “This year we anticipate above 20% increase in sales in the field of trauma and biomaterials compared to 2013, when annual revenues amounted to a total of 40 million EUR.”

The advanced range of trauma and medical products offered by aap Implantate today has proven its reliability in orthopedic practice and includes implants that support minimally invasive surgeries to increase patient comfort and promote quicker recovery.

The standard trauma portfolio includes a wide range of cannulated screws, standard plates and screws, reconstruction plates, and other components for small and large bone fragments. The new LOQTEQ ® anatomical plating system provides an innovative locking-compression technology whose patented design offers outstanding benefits in orthopedic procedures.

“Our new LOQTEQ® system combines the two principles of locking and compression,” points out Mr. Seyoum Alemu. “It enables surgeons to lock the plate with the screw in one single process that results in compression. Ease of use for the surgeons and improved operating room efficiency are benefits that place our system in the same category as market-leading products.”

The LOQTEQ® system is still being expanded, as aap Implantate is working on new applications to enlarge its portfolio. “At present we are able to account for about 80% of all common indications,” adds the CEO. “By mid-2015, we will be able to provide for 95% of all fractures with a technology that allows for enhanced angular stability and the compression of fracture gaps up to 2 mm, thanks to the unique coneand-thread design of LOQTEQ® screws in combination with LOQTEQ ® plates. The availability of all plates with either locking screws or standard screws even enhances the scope of possible applications.”

In the biomaterials segment, aap focuses on the development of innovative cements, particularly bone cements and accessories for applications in arthroplasty, and bone cements and accessories for applications in vertibroplasty and kyphoplasty. The development of various value-added platform technologies is bound to lead to further innovative solutions, for example in the field of implant coating to reduce biofilm formation.

“Based on patented and proprietary ideas, we have developed a plasma oxidization silvercoating process for the protection of orthopedic implants,” says Mr. Alemu. “In this manner, we obtain very thin layers of coating and smooth implant surfaces. Low silver concentration is combined with optimum protection against bacterial growth.”

aap Implantate has not only developed the new, innovative coating technology, but the coating device as well and is planning to launch corresponding products in 2015. The use of magnesium as a material that is absorbed by the body is another venture confirming aap’s dedication to innovation and progress in the field of trauma care.

Many implants cannot be absorbed so that a second operation becomes necessary to remove the plates. As building materials alone would be too soft, the idea is to combine the characteristics of metal with those of biomaterials.

aap considers magnesium the ideal solution and expects to come up with marketable products by 2016. The reinforcement of the bone structure in case of osteoporosis is yet another example of dedicated aap development. Fixing the plate screws is a problem when bones are brittle: aap Implantate is working on augmenting the bone stability by combining the plate screws with a special filler.

The medical sector is characterized by ever-more sophisticated technologies and procedures on the one hand and the need to safeguard feasibility and cost efficiency on the other hand. aap Implantate is acutely aware of this dual commitment and meets the challenge with IP-based technologies.

“Our focus is to provide both economic and clinical benefits,” points out Mr. Alemu. “Our technologies address unmet needs in healthcare and are well appreciated by partners and customers in Germany and abroad.”

The German enterprise cooperates with distributors and sales organizations in more than 20 countries worldwide and generates 75% of its turnover in export, especially in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, China, India and Mexico, but also in established Western European countries.

Sales in the USA could well be triggered in cooperation with local partners, especially as aap products are approved for the American market. Growth is on the agenda for aap Implantate, both in terms of geographical expansion and acquisitions that enrich its existing trauma portfolio.

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